How to Choose the Right Short Throw Shifter for a Mazda MX-5 for Enhanced Gear Selection?

April 18, 2024

In the world of car modifications, one of the most popular changes made by car enthusiasts is the installation of a short throw shifter. This simple modification can drastically improve your driving experience by reducing the distance your hand needs to move to engage gears. The Mazda MX-5, also known as the Miata among auto enthusiasts, is a perfect platform for this modification due to its lightweight construction and rear-wheel-drive layout. Let’s delve into the details of how to select the best short throw shifter for your Mazda MX-5.

Understanding the Basics of a Short Throw Shifter

The short throw shifter, often abbreviated as STS, is a device installed in manual transmission cars to shorten the distance the gear stick moves between gears. The result is faster gear changes, which can significantly enhance your driving experience. This modification can be particularly beneficial for those who drive Mazda MX-5s, as these vehicles are well-known for their engaging driving dynamics.

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When selecting a short throw shifter, there are several factors you need to consider. The shift throw is one, alongside the shifter’s height, the materials used, and the feel and finish of the shifter knob. On top of these, the ease of installation and whether the kit comes with all necessary parts are also essential considerations.

The Significance of Short Throw Shifter Kits

When it comes to installing a short throw shifter in your Mazda Miata, a complete kit is your best bet. These kits will typically include the STS itself, along with any necessary hardware, such as bushings, clips, and oils. This means you won’t have to worry about sourcing additional parts, making the installation process a breeze.

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Many of these kits on the market also come with detailed instructions — an invaluable resource for those who are new to car modifications. When selecting a short throw shifter kit, ensure it is designed specifically for the Mazda MX-5 to guarantee a perfect fit and optimal performance.

Performance and Material Considerations

When choosing a short throw shifter, the material of the shifter knob is a crucial factor to consider. This is the part of the shifter you’ll be interacting with most, so it’s essential that it’s comfortable to touch and use. Common materials include aluminum, stainless steel, and leather, each with its unique aesthetic and feel.

In terms of performance, the reduction in shift throw distance is the main factor you’ll want to consider. The larger the reduction, the faster you’ll be able to change gears. A shifter with a 40% reduction in throw distance, for instance, will allow for much quicker shifts than one with only a 20% reduction.

Engine, Transmission and Exterior Parts Compatibility

It’s also essential to ensure that the short throw shifter you choose is compatible with your Mazda MX-5’s engine and transmission. Not all shifters will work with all engine and transmission combinations, so make sure to verify this before making your purchase.

Additionally, take into account the compatibility of the short throw shifter with the exterior parts of your vehicle. The STS should not interfere with any other components, like the brake system or the underbody of the car. It should fit seamlessly into the existing setup without requiring major modifications or adjustments.

Oil and Maintenance

Lastly, maintenance is a significant factor in the lifespan and performance of short throw shifters. In particular, the oil used in the shifter and the frequency of oil changes can greatly impact the shifter’s functionality.

Most short throw shifter kits will come with a specific type of oil recommended by the manufacturer. This oil typically has properties that are best suited for the materials used in the shifter’s construction and the conditions the shifter will be operating under. Make sure to strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance and oil change recommendations to ensure your short throw shifter performs at its best for the longest possible time.

Exploring Top Brands and Models

When searching for a short throw shifter for your Mazda MX-5, considering different brands and models is a smart move. Some of the popular brands offering high-quality short throw shifters include Cube Speed, Miata Short, and Mazda Speed.

Each brand offers unique features and specifications. For instance, Cube Speed is renowned for its robust and durable short shifters, designed to deliver a 40% reduction in throw. On the other hand, Miata Short is known for its simple and efficient design, providing a smooth shifting experience. Mazda Speed is favored for its high-performance shifters, which enhance the precision and speed of gear selections.

To make an informed decision, browse through reviews and ratings from other Mazda MX-5 owners who have installed short throw shifters. Pay close attention to their experience with the product concerning its installation, performance, and compatibility with their vehicles.

Also, remember to check the warranty offered by each brand. Some brands offer limited warranties, while others may offer comprehensive coverage that includes damages and defects. Thoroughly read the terms and conditions to understand the coverage and its limitations.

Shopping and Delivery Considerations

Once you’ve made your selection, consider the shipping and delivery options. Check if the seller provides tracking details for your order. This will allow you to track the progress of your delivery and anticipate its arrival. Reputable sellers often guarantee a fast dispatch and delivery, with an average of 3-5 business days for local deliveries.

While shopping, you might come across sellers who offer carbon fiber enhancements or brake kits as part of their short throw shifter package. These add-ons might enhance the aesthetics and performance of your vehicle, but they are not necessary for the installation or functioning of the short throw shifter.

Ensure that the seller has a reliable customer service system in place. They should be responsive to your queries and provide their email, should you need assistance during installation or troubleshooting. A provided email address is an indication of a trustworthy seller who is ready to assist customers as necessary.


Choosing the right short throw shifter for your Mazda MX-5 involves considering a myriad of factors, including the shifter’s compatibility with your vehicle, its performance, the brand’s reputation, and the delivery and after-sales services offered by the seller.

Improving your vehicle’s gear selection through the installation of a short throw shifter can significantly enhance your driving experience. Whether you prefer the robust shifters from Cube Speed, the simplicity of Miata Short, or the high-performance shifters from Mazda Speed, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance and oil change recommendations to enjoy optimal performance.

With the right short throw shifter, not only will you experience faster and smoother gear changes, but you’ll also bring an added touch of personalization and performance to your Mazda MX-5. And remember, if you ever need assistance, a quick email to the seller should set you on the right path. Happy driving!